“Feminist is a person who believes in social, economical and political equality of the sexes”. This definition, given by the nigerian writer Chimamanda Adichie, could not be clearer. Whether woman or man, if you claim that the both genders must be treated with the same respect, must earn the same wages and have the same autonomy, you are a feminist. And you can make your company feminist. The first step is to reformulate the policies and culture of the company, in a nutshell, to review how the team management is done. That’s not easy, but if you decide it’s time to end gender inequality, keep reading. Here are four tips, some global studies and a video to inspire you in this journey:
1. Destroy the machism within your company
Women around the world feel discouraged to seek higher leadership positions, because of the myth that women are not suitable for the senior roles. This prejudice not only leads to professional stagnation of women, but also blames them for their lack of progress. So, start to change the internal reality of the company, by establishing policies that cut off harassment and sexism behaviour. And just delete that reality of “same work, different wages.”
2. Face the gender inequality
Sexual harassment problems are reported in 90% of large corporations in the US. There, women who work full day earn only 68.4% of what men do. In addition, only 32% of women receive health plan from their employers, while 45% of men have the same benefit. The more feminists (I insist: both man and woman) in leadership positions, the better the conditions for all women at work. Women in the team management are also more likely to create policies that facilitate parental leaves and to allow flexible working hours. Other initiatives are financial aid for mothers and fathers who need to leave their children in day care centers and the adoption of preventive policies on sexual harassment and punishment of offenders.
3. Share content that empowers women
Your business must be attentive to the content produced, and should thoroughly analyze the message before releasing it on social networks. A bad post shared on social media can lead to millions of people a message that only reinforces gender stereotypes. Michele Morelli, Marketing VP of AOL, in an article for the site Adweek, adds: “Businesses have a responsibility not only to help their bottom line, but also to positively impact society. Consumers take notice—switching to and even paying more for brands that support causes they care about.”
4. Invest in the feminist community
To sponsor and promote feminist projects is a great way to fight for gender equality and address feminism in the business world. During board meetings, monthly meetings of staff, conferences and congresses, raise the flag and talk about the issue of lack of representation of women. Or invite other feminist member of the company to speak. “With the resources, public awareness and mass communication we have available today, brands have the opportunity to make a significant impact on gender equality. It’s not about jumping on the feminism bandwagon because it’s the hot topic right now. It’s just the right thing to do” says Michele Morelli, from AOL.
The first global McKinsey study on the impact of gender diversity at work, done in 2007, surveyed more than 900 organizations from around the world seeking to test if there actually was any relation between gender diversity of team leaders and the efficiency of the company. Then, came up the annual report “Women Matter“. The discovery was impressive: companies with three or more women in senior management positions had the highest scores in all nine dimensions of an organization efficiency:
• culture and climate;
• coordination and control;
• innovation and learning.
The newest report, of 2014, recommends 5 feminist attitudes that leaders can take:
1. Make gender diversity a strategic priority of your company.
2. Support the potential women to find their own path, toward leadership.
3. Provide training to recognize and overcome prejudices.
4. Ensure that company’s HR policies do not tolerate prejudice or harassment, and that the infrastructure do not embarrass women or LGBT (also a feminist flag).
5. Measure the results and personally monitor the implementation of the feminist initiative, just as you do with any large project of your business.
(Bonus) Why we should all be feminists
Runrun.it supports feminism in the workplace because we believe that it should be a leaders’ priority in a team management that does not accept discrimination, nor unequal rights. Try our task, time and performance management software, try it for free here: http://runrun.it
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